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Where to find great hotel chocolate

CHOCOLATE is always in season, especially as Chinese Valentine's Day is coming up on August 16. But any day can be chocolate-coated.

Three hotels offer delectable, high-quality, hand-made chocolates of all kinds. The Fairmont Peace Hotel, Pudong Shangri-La Shanghai and Le Royal Meridien Shanghai are putting forward their best chocolate treats.

They say the best excuse to celebrate Valentine's Day is not love, but chocolate, and dark cocoa (at least 72 percent) eaten regularly in moderation is proved to bring health benefits and lower blood pressure.

Since it also contains serotonin and endorphins, it impacts brain chemistry and lifts the mood, at least for a while.

So it really is true that people feel happier after eating dark chocolate.

Still, any kind is delicious and nice tastes, sugar and good company make us feel good.

Here are three top hotels to share that "feel-good" feeling.

Guests can fulfill their chocolate fantasies at the brand-new French and European style Victor Restaurant of the Fairmont Peace Hotel, which also offers a spectacular view of the Bund and Huangpu River.

The hotel imports from various famous chocolate suppliers and aims to satisfy the discerning chocolate lover with elegant, exclusive and fantastic chocolate in all shapes and sizes - from candies to tortes and mousse. Twenty distinctive chocolate desserts are designed and handmade by Executive Chef Anthony Hannan, and his colleague Peter Grubben, the Candy Man.

These include 10 classical chocolate desserts and 10 creative desserts with special flavors, such as spicy chocolate. There are rich chocolate confections served with sweet fresh fruit and topped with ice creams.

Guests can enjoy perfect meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner at Victor Restaurant.

Chocolate is not only available at the table, but chocolate confections of all kinds can be taken home.

Luscious, intense and velvety handmade chocolate "jewels made with noble ingredients" are available at the Pudong Shangri-La - both as desserts served in all restaurants and candies to take home.

In addition to the classics, the hotel offers chocolate in candy and desserts are flavored with fig, lavender, rosemary, rose and other intense and exotic flavors.

The hotel uses world-renowned organic cocoa from the Ivory Coast, Sao Tome, Madagascar, Kenya, Venezuela, Santo Domingo and elsewhere, according to the hotel's Executive Pastry Chef Yusuf Yaran.

All chocolates are handmade at the hotel kitchens, blended with various ingredients.

The desserts are creamy, silk-textured and velvety, hand-made daily to suit every chocolate-lover's taste.

The best chocolate destinations in town also include Le Royal Meridien. The hotel has a wide selection of chocolates of all kinds and special deserts using chocolates of many flavors.

Offering panoramic views over Shanghai, the hotel is a perfect place to indulge the senses.

The recipe for tiramisu includes 1,560-gram sugar, 450-gram water, 840-gram egg yolks, 600-gram Jivara chocolate from Ecuador (40 percent), 1,800-gram Manjari chocolate from Madagascar (64 percent), 1,800-gram triple-cream mascarpone cheese and 3,000-gram cream. That's a lot of dessert.

Chocolate and cinnamon has always been a winning combination for a dessert. Cinnamon adds warmth and deep aroma to this treat. The dessert tables in Le Royal Meridien are filled with chocolate innovations and surprising flavors, such as salted caramel chocolate, balsamic vinegar chocolate, Sichuan pepper chocolate and praline chocolate - many devised by Executive Pastry Chef Julian Hutchings.

The five-spice tiramisu and white chocolate balsamic vinegar rice pudding are delicious.


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